Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Love, or: Full-Frontal Male Misogyny

In the history of the Blog Collab, there have been only a handful of films so hated that Christa and I cannot contain our rage about them.  This is one of those films.

The Film:

Gaspar Noé’s Love

The Premise:

An awful garbage human being reflects on how he fucked things up with the so-called love of his life.

The Ramble:

Our film begins ever so tastefully in the middle of a 3-minute full-frontal sex scene.  If this is the kind of thing you’re into, good news–you’ll see so many endless, gratuitous sex scenes with all of the nudity.  All of it.

As it turns out, the scene depicts our protagonist and resident misogynist Murphy with his ex-girlfriend and love of his life, Electra.  In the present, Murphy’s memories of her are all he has.  Murphy is unhappily married to a woman named Omi with whom he shares a young son (named Gaspar, JFC).  As the film opens, Murphy learns that Electra is missing and quite possibly dead.

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Can’t…contain…douchebaggery…much longer…

Let’s just pause to appreciate the nature of Murphy’s marriage and the almost superhuman amount of self-pity he feels.  He’d definitely be top pick for Marvel’s Improbably Self-Pitying Misogynist Man.  Murphy believes his wife, Omi, deliberately became pregnant to trap him.  He regularly thinks shit like “I’m sick of this bitch.  Take care of the baby and leave me alone,” “I’m married because of a broken condom,” and “I hope she doesn’t make my son gay.”  What a catch.

As Murphy reflects on his present, he becomes lost in memories of his past with Electra and–lucky for us–details the tragic story of how their relationship unraveled.  When Electra and Murphy meet at a party, he is a film student who wants to make movies out of “blood, sperm, and tears.”  He’s the obnoxious film guy who gets indignant when Electra admits she hasn’t seen 2001.  Give it a rest, bro.

Electra is a struggling artist with a drug problem and a complicated relationship with her parents.  Despite their issues, Electra and Murphy fall into a passionate relationship with an absolutely unnecessary number of sex scenes.  The two believe they will start a family and be together forever because their love is so twu.

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Yet another reason to be grossed out by PDA.

Unfortunately, cracks begin to show quite quickly in this relationship (and not just ass cracks).  Electra’s ex, Noé (eye roll), has a successful gallery whose position to help her makes Murphy super jealous.  As the couple fights more and more, they go to extreme measures to save their relationship.  Naturally, this includes a visit to a gross underground sex club (I almost vomited when I thought about people having to clean this place), hiring a trans sex worker, and a threesome with a pretty young neighbor, Omi…aka Murphy’s future wife.

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A rare moment of fully-clothedness.

What happened to drive the final nail in the coffin?  And will Electra ever be seen again?  Does anyone give a shit?

The Rating:

1/5 Angry Pink Panther Heads

Ugh, the only thing worse than seeing Murphy’s dick so many times that it stops looking real is hearing this douchebag’s internal monologue throughout the film.  I have absolutely no sympathy for this dude’s existential angst as everything bad that’s happened to him is his own fucking fault yet he still doesn’t learn to treat women better.

Just for fun, a selection of Murphy’s internal thoughts:

“A dick has only one purpose:  to fuck.”  (Dicks fuck assholes.)

“Men understand each other; we have respect for each other.”

“I’m not a slave to pussy.  Pussy is pussy.”

The nature of Murphy and Electra’s relationship is also horrific.  This film should’ve just been called Sex or Fucking because what they share is not love.  The two spend an insufferable amount of time talking about what a great couple they are, but they’re actually the worst.

Only watch this one if you want to watch a porno while insisting to your friends at a party that this is true art.

Would Christa have a self-pitying wallow with this one or cover it quickly with a towel (and/or kill it with fire)?  Find out here!

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Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Art of Loving, or: You Weren’t Found in a Cabbage Patch

It’s summer, so we’re doing what we want on the blog (in contrast to every other season).  This week we’re up for some education on sexual and reproductive health…in 1970s Poland.  Based on a true story!

The Film:

The Art of Loving

The Premise:

A renowned Polish gynecologist struggles to publish a book that addresses very real–and very taboo–sexual issues married couples experience.

The Ramble:

Michalina Wisłocka, having worked as a gynecologist for years in many parts of Poland, has long been an advocate for contraception and the demystification of sex. Now, in the 1970s, she is ready to publish a book to help married couples, and especially women, understand their reproductive health and sexual issues. Enter the Catholic Church, stage left. Also the Soviets. Plus the media. And throw in a few disgruntled misogynists too for good measure. Getting a book published on such a taboo topic is going to be a battle.

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…of wearing super chic boho-style headscarves.

As it turns out, Michalina has always been surrounded by controversy. After spying on a skinny dipping man with her bff Wanda, Michalina eventually ends up marrying him. In large part because of Wanda, Michalina and her husband Stach survive the war. Wanda goes to live with the couple, and they eventually become a threesome. Michalina thinks this will work out perfectly as Wanda fulfills Stach’s sexual needs, while Michalina will fulfill his emotional needs.

After the war is over, Michalina pursues a medical degree and the 3 live together in harmony. Of course, this doesn’t last—when both Michalina and Wanda become pregnant, things get rather complicated. As Wanda is an unmarried woman, Michalina claims both as her own children. This will be totally fine and never backfire as this unconventional family will be together forever…right?

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WWII lulz,

Yeah, maybe not. Wanda feels like a 3rd wheel and decides to leave with her son. This move will create absolutely no trauma for any parties involved…by which I mean SO much trauma for everyone. Wanda leaving triggers the dissolution of Michalina and Stach’s marriage, transforming a family of 5 into a party of 2.

Devastated, Michalina retreats to a small Polish village for the summer. Though she insists she’s taking a break from men, Michalina is nevertheless drawn to Jurek, a married sailor with a secret romantic streak.  From Jurek, Michalina gets her signature style of clothing made primarily from curtains.  She also feels encouraged to love and appreciate her body for the first time.  Unfortunately, Jurek is going to have to choose between his family and Michalina…3 guesses on how that turns out.

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We’ll always have Lubieniec…

In the present day (by which I mean the 1970s), Michalina is on the verge of publishing her book.  However, to avoid controversy, the chapter on female orgasms has been cut.  Following a ridiculous male rights conversation about men’s orgasms being important too (we know), Michalina walks with her book, refusing to compromise on this.

Will Michalina find a publisher and help thousands of Polish women reach their, er, full potential?  Related question:  is there a time in history when middle-aged white dudes are not trying to control women’s bodies?

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I absolutely love the portrayal of Michalina in this (by Magdalena Boczarska).  She’s smart, confident, caring, and unwaveringly determined.  Some of her lines are absolutely brilliant–my favorites being “I am the sexual revolution and I’m coming,” and “You’re from a vagina; you weren’t found in a cabbage patch.”  What a woman.

However, there are a few things I find frustrating throughout the film.  The entire subplot of the secret baby mama feels melodramatic and disjointed.  Michalina is heartbroken when Wanda leaves with her child and believes both kids will be fucked up for life.  Yet after this scene, the film spends very little time exploring the effects on all parties and wrapping up this part of the story.

After the dissolution of the Michalina/Wanda/Stach relationship, the close bond between Michalina and Wanda disappears.  It’s frustrating to see such a genuine love vanish because of men–and indeed the extent to which Michalina’s early decisions are influenced by men.  While I adore Jurek and his surprisingly forward-thinking brand of 1970s Polish feminism, I dislike how much of the film revolves around Michalina’s relationships with men.

Would Christa flip straight to the dirty pictures or burn the manuscript?  Find out here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

I Am Not a Witch, or: …Am I?

Rounding out May Mayhem is our first film set in Zambia, though absolutely not our first film about witches.  This is by far our most realistic witch film as we get a glimpse into the lives of women accused of witchcraft in present day Zambia.  Intrigued yet?  Let’s dive in.

The Film:

I Am Not a Witch

The Premise:

A young girl accused of witchcraft is sent to live on a witch camp, where she is expected to work, use her powers to help the government, and solve the ongoing drought.

The Ramble:

After an unnamed girl with no friends and no family arrives at a small Zambian village, she struggles to go quietly about her business.  The girl, later named Shula, is the scapegoat for accidental falls and even bad dreams, leading to the witch word being thrown in her direction.  Shula, who is virtually silent in all scenarios, neither confirms nor denies being a witch.

As a result, Mr. Banda, a government official declares she must be a witch since she doesn’t deny it.  Nevertheless, he has a witch doctor make an official analysis involving a chicken dying in or outside of a circle.  After this witch test, Shula is taken to live at a witch camp with other women who have been declared witches.

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At the witch camp, the women are expected to work by farming, breaking rocks, and completing other manual labor.  Each woman has a ribbon attached to a large spool, intended to keep the witches from running away.  While the witch camp seems to be largely an opportunity for the local government to recruit unpaid laborers, the women do what they can to make the best of things, caring for one another and forming their own family in exile.

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Shula soon learns that another duty of witches is to preside over court hearings and determine guilty parties in criminal cases.  Of course, Shula has no supernatural insight into who is telling the truth, but she quickly earns a reputation as being a fair and accurate judge.  While uncomfortable with this role, Shula must fulfill this role and condemn one of the suspects, whether guilty or not.

Because of Shula’s success, she spends some time with Mr. Banda and his wife at their obscenely gorgeous house.  Mrs. Banda reveals she was once considered a witch but gained respectability through marriage.  Shula must do as she is told and, if she is lucky, will end up in the same position.

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In a bid to make some extra cash, Mr. Banda appears on a talk show with Shula.  Once there, he tries to market special Shula eggs with magical properties.  However, unexpectedly, the talk show host inquires about Shula’s education, serving as the catalyst for her attendance at school.

All of this takes place in the midst of a horrible drought that Shula is expected to resolve.  After concerns that she isn’t prioritizing the drought, Shula is pulled from school despite quite enjoying it.  This sends her into a downward spiral quickly–what is Shula meant to do when her future looks like nothing but serving the whims of others?

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

There’s no doubt this is an utterly unique film and has an important story to tell.  So few films focus on African women, let alone those as marginalized as the witches in this story.  The ribbons are a beautiful symbol of the literal and metaphorical restraint these women experience as a result of baseless accusations against them.  An accusation of witchcraft seems to be a convenient opportunity for government officials to step in and recruit unpaid laborers (who also serve as a low-cost tourist attraction).

Shula herself exhibits an admirable strength of character despite the isolation and mistreatment she experiences.  One of the tragedies of this film is her brief introduction to childhood, learning, and playing with others her own age, which is cut short by the superstitions of others.  This to me is the turning point for Shula, when she experiences what her childhood could be only to have it snatched away–all of her quiet endurance seems to be for nothing.

That being said, I found the lack of narrative structure distracting.  Like Shula’s life, our experience in the film is disorienting as we see her shuffled around unexpectedly with little explanation.  The tone is uneven at times too, with much of the film being satirically funny but becoming incredibly bleak in the end.  I wasn’t expecting such a merciless ending for this one that turned my guts to stone.

Did this film impress my blog wife with its occult magic or leave her running around like a chicken with its head cut off?  Find out here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Transfiguration, or: You Know He’s a Vampire When…

One of the best films by far of the blog collab has been A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, an Iranian movie about a skateboarding vampire.  If it worked for us once, why not give the modern vampire film another go, complete with gore and some surprisingly beautiful shots of the beach?

The Film:

The Transfiguration

The Premise:

A teen who believes he is a vampire begins to feel remorse about his disturbing behavior when he befriends a teen girl who moves in to his apartment building.

The Ramble:

While on the surface a quiet, reflective teenager, Milo is secretly obsessed with vampires–and may in fact be a vampire.  Based on his own carefully timed schedule, Milo periodically selects an unlucky victim, who he stabs in the neck with a concealed knife and then drinks the blood.  An opportunist, Milo also takes their cash with him and stores it in a secret stash.

Considered a freak in his NYC neighborhood, a group of rather douchey older teens pick on him constantly.  At school, Milo’s counselor seems to be very concerned that he may be hurting animals and has no friends.  Milo lives with his brother, and seems to be concealing some disturbing thoughts and feelings surrounding the death of their mother.

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I know what you did last summer…

When Sophie moves in with her abusive grandfather, she bonds with Milo immediately even though her favorite vampire movie is Twilight.  Gaining a reputation as a loose woman, Sophie endures ridicule and finds comfort in cutting herself.  The two outcasts become close, but Sophie backs off when Milo shows her some of his favorite video clips of animals being killed.  I mean, she’s not wrong about that being a giant red flag.

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Also being a fan of “Ripping out squirrels’ entrails and feeding them to piranhas” on Facebook could be considered a clue.

Though Sophie and Milo do have a bit of a push/pull, she ultimately moves in to escape her grandfather and stays in watching a lot of vampire movies with Milo.  Meanwhile, Milo continues to give in to his vampiric urges.  All of this seems surprisingly sustainable…which is how you know something has to give.

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Relationship goals.

Milo is chillingly successful at containing his feelings, as evidenced by his interaction with a pair of white teens trying to score some drugs.  Assuming everyone in the area is a dealer, they ask Milo if he can hook them up.  Milo agrees to help them, and leads the guy to an incredibly creepy basement room.  Once there, Milo lures his bullies over, where things escalate much too quickly and someone ends up dead.

As a witness to all of this, Milo now holds power but insists he isn’t a snitch.  What will Milo do with this newfound power, and is it enough to keep him safe?  And will his  vampiric thirst for blood ever be quenched?

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

The premise of this film is incredibly original, drawing parallels between vampirism and the violence, lack of opportunity, and despair Milo feels.  It’s also wonderfully tense; it’s unclear at times whether Milo loves Sophie or wants to drink her blood, which I guess is at the heart of all vampire films.  Despite the body count Milo has racked up, I couldn’t help rooting for him and hoping for him to put his vampire past behind him and find a way out of his situation with the boys in his neighborhood.

That being said, some of the tension is lost in the very loose plot of this film, and I would’ve liked more action and perhaps a better glimpse into Milo’s thoughts.  Just as he remains quiet and aloof to those around him, Milo remains something of a mystery to us too.  Some of his actions are extremely thoughtful and caring, while others are uncomfortably calculated and detached.  We explore Milo as a vampire–but more importantly, as someone deeply misunderstood and attempting to make sense of grief.

On a side note, I got kind of distracted thinking about when this film was set, as Milo has a collection of VHS tapes, a phone that looks to be from the early 2000s, and uses a computer exclusively to watch video clips that may have been posted on a blog?

Would my blog wife give this one a bite or opt for a burger instead?  Find out here!

 

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Office, or: Live to Work, Work to Die

May May-hem continues!  Which for our purposes seems to mean gory films about murder with at least some level of social commentary.  This week we’ve jumped from Japan to Korea.

The Film:

Office (Opiseu)

The Premise:

Work.  It’s bad enough on a normal day, let alone on a day when a killer may be living in the office walls.

The Ramble:

We really hit the ground running when Mr. Kim–reliable employee, family man–returns home from work in Seoul one evening and proceeds to bludgeon his family to death with a hammer.

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In our family portrait, we look pretty happy…

Having disappeared without a trace, the police are determined to find Kim, as well as unravel why exactly the fuck a seemingly serene man would murder his family in such a disturbing manner.

The police detective, Jong-hoon, speaks with everyone on Kim’s team except for Mi-Rae, a lowly intern.  Though her supervisor tries to deter the detective and even cautions Mi-Rae against saying anything, Jong-hoon does sit down for a chat.  Though many of his colleagues looked down on Kim, he was always kind to Mi-Rae.

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“You’re not my dad!  You can’t tell me what to do!”

As the investigation continues, it seems possible Kim is still in the building–security cam footage shows him returning to work after the murders but never shows him leaving.  Nevertheless, the show must go on, and the company employees are expected to continue working into the early hours of morning in a building possibly occupied by a murderer.

Though Min-Rae works hard, she doesn’t seem to fit in at the company and with the other interns.  Finding a knife in Kim’s desk (which has somehow not been investigated by police?!), Min-Rae holds onto it.  Is she hiding evidence, keeping a memento, or something more sinister?

Meanwhile, the arrival of another intern sends Min-Rae into a panic.  Though she keeps a cool exterior, Min-Rae believes it’s clear the intern was hired to replace her.  And since the new intern comes from a wealthy family, speaks English, and–the salt in the wound–is a genuinely nice person, Min-Rae doesn’t like her odds.

When a secret meeting of shady business dudes is interrupted by a body falling from the ceiling, things get even more tense at work.  Several people report dreams or sightings of Kim in the building.  One of the company supervisors has a public breakdown and screams at the cops.  Afraid of the damage the scandal will cause the company, upper management wants Jong-hoon off the case.

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I mean…he does have a point.

As the bodies stack up and Min-Rae’s desperate work frenzy amps up, something has to give.  Will Min-Rae get that much desired promotion…or die trying?

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

I love a film with a message, especially one that takes on the BS corporate culture of working yourself to death.  It’s honestly kind of hard not to feel some of the die-hard corporate characters in this film deserve what’s coming to them.  Though the evidence begins to strongly suggest Kim is living in the office building and taking out its employees one by one, management still insists everyone carry on as usual.

However, I did find this difficult to follow at times, and the ending was especially ambiguous on several counts.  It’s hard to be overly invested in the characters, as even Min-Rae remains quite guarded.  On the other hand, I found it easy to relate to her situation and really wanted all of the office fucks to stop being assholes to her.

Though it’s a slow burner, there are some genuinely chilling moments.  Kim compares his knife to a rosary in an especially creepy scene.  I would have liked some more clarity from this film, but it did succeed in being unsettling and unexpected, just the way we like on the blog collab.

Would Christa climb the corporate ladder for this one or finely slice and dice it like an insufferable coworker?  Find out here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Tag, or: Pens Before Men(s)

This month on the Collab promises to be full of May…hem?  Eh eh?  Dad jokes aside, we will be fully embracing  films that, in the grand tradition of the blog, are more than a little strange, surreal, nonsensical, or odd.  As always,  there’s plenty of room for us to do whatever the fucking fuck we feel like unless, like the characters in this week’s film, destiny is playing a much stronger hand than we realize.

The Film:

Tag (2015)

The Premise:

A teen girl in Japan finds herself surrounded by horrifically gory, surreal murders as she experiences several dreams, realities, and/or versions of herself.

The Ramble:

On their merry way for a weekend trip, an all-girls school in Japan is in high spirits.  Singing, pillow fighting, and engaging in light-hearted mischief, things seem to be off to a great start.

The trip takes a very dark turn, however, when an accident kills all but one of the girls–rather gorily shearing almost all of them in half.  Mitsuko, the only survivor, was saved as she had knelt down to retrieve a pen knocked from her hands by a classmate.

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See what you get for messing with my pens, bitches.

Though she has survived the accident, Mitsuko isn’t in the clear yet as the whole ordeal seems to have been caused by…a murder wind?  I guess if Evil Dead can do it, why not this film?  Mitsuko does eventually escape to the woods, but not before the wind catches up with some unlucky joggers and bicyclists.  It just goes to show that absolutely no one can stand a bicyclist.

Stumbling across what seems to be another massacre at a river, Mitsuko shakily washes off the blood spatters and changes clothes.  She then comes across another school, where the students know her and believe she has a severe case of amnesia.  Luckily, her bff Aki explains who everyone is in their friend group and shows her where her classes are.

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Scenes from a horror film or a Behind the Music episode about a teen girl group?

Since Mitsuko is still terrified of the wind and incredibly confused, Aki and the 2 other girls in the friend group cut class to hang out by the river.  When they hear about Mitsuko’s earlier “dream,” the girls jokingly dismiss it–except for Sur, the vaguely punk rebel of the group, of course.  Sur insists it’s possible that the dream really happened and Mitsuko is experiencing one of many alternate realities.  It gets super philosophical here, but I feel the big takeaway is that fate can only be tricked with something dramatically and unexpectedly out of character.

When the girls return to school, terror strikes again when the enraged teachers suddenly open fire on the students, sending Mitsuko running for her life again.  She finds a police station and realizes she has transformed into Keiko, a 25-year-old woman on the way to her wedding.  Help arrives in the form of Aki, who seems to be completely off her rocker when she starts killing all bridesmaids in sight.  It’s clear Keiko and Aki are going to have to fight their way out of this one.

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We’ve all been to one of those weddings…

Having escaped the wedding, Mitsuko takes on another form, Izumi.  She finds herself in the middle of a race, running to the finish line yet seemingly trapped in another scenario that ends with everyone around her dead.

Is there no escape for Mitsuko from this horror show?  And who is she, anyway–Mitsuko, Keiko, or Izumi?

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I don’t know what a fair rating for this one is as I’m still puzzling over it and (spoiler/not really a spoiler) I would’ve really liked a bit more clarity in the end.  But honestly, despite a lack of understanding, I had a lot of fun watching this.  It does sometimes beat us over the head with its message about destiny, control, and the surrealism of reality.  What saved this one for me was a willingness to counteract a serious message with fun B horror tropes and an improbable amount of gore.

The film is grounded by Mitsuko and Aki’s bond and the genuine affection between them as besties.  There is a hint of romance between the 2 girls, but the film leaves this open to interpretation for the aromantic among us.

In the end, the message of the film is surprisingly feminist as the nature of Mitsuko’s existence is revealed.  Big shocker–men are just the absolute worst.

Did Christa get on board with this girl gang or would she kick it back to another reality?  Find out here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

God’s Own Country, or: Who Needs a Heart Anyway

Some weeks on the blog are for ladies roadtripping with the ashes of their deceased bff.  Others are for murderous dudes dressed as Santa Claus.  This week is for ripping our hearts out for 90+ minutes and watching them slowly cease beating.

The Film:

God’s Own Country

The Premise:

Yorkshire.  Rolling hills.  Sheep.  Homophobes who sound like Sean Bean.  Maybe not the best place to be a closeted young farmer.

The Ramble:

Oof, Johnny is leading a bleak life on the family farm in Yorkshire.  Having watched his friends leave for university and bright futures, Johnny is bitter about staying at home, tending to the farm and to his father, who has recently suffered a stroke.  Trying to stop feeling anything, Johnny is a regular at the local pub and really overdoes it quite often.  Like, reeeeeeeeeeally overdoes it.  Occasionally hooking up with other men, Johnny makes it clear he’s not interested in an emotional connection.

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I’ll spare you the hangover pics.

As a result of the stroke, the family has had trouble managing the farm and hires a temporary employee to help out.  The only applicant is a Romanian man named Gheorghe, who Johnny grumpily picks up from the station.

Since Johnny’s father is constantly on his case, Gheorghe overhears quite a few heated discussions but quietly goes about his work.  Though dispassionate about his work, Gheorghe has a soft spot, going out of his way to save and care for a lamb who is a runt of the litter.  He is annoyingly good at everything and looks both comfy and stylish in knitted sweaters, only further fueling Johnny’s grudge against him.

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Sweaters on sweaters on sweaters.

Things are unlikely to go well when Johnny and Gheorghe must camp out at the far end of the farm to repair a fence.  It all reaches a boiling point when Johnny refuses to stop calling Gheorghe a gypsy despite his objections, though what begins as a fight becomes an almost literal roll in the hay.

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Roll in the grass really…but that leaves little room for incredibly clever word play.

Later, Gheorghe and Johnny share a super tender evening and become closer.  Johnny reveals his mother left when he was very young, and has since lived with his emotionally distant father and grandmother.

Unfortunately, it all goes downhill quickly when Johnny’s father suffers another stroke and is hospitalized.  Gheorghe very sweetly cares for Johnny, making him pasta and special sheep’s milk cheese.  While Gheorghe agrees to stay on for more time to help with the farm, Johnny asks Gheorghe to stay indefinitely…and perhaps forever?

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It’s true love when he makes you food.

Gheorghe decides to break Johnny’s heart (and my heart and the heart of everyone watching this film who isn’t made of stone) by leaving–he’s been burned before and doesn’t believe things would work out if he stayed.

Though devastated, life goes on as Johnny’s father returns home from the hospital more dependent on his son than ever.  Johnny begins to wordlessly take responsibility for his father’s care and for the upkeep of the farm, bringing the two closer together.  However, the farm needs more help–and Johnny needs a cuddle from a certain sweater-wearing Romanian.  Johnny sets out to find Gheorghe and bring him home…but does Gheorghe even want to be found?

The Rating:

4.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I don’t know how to rate this because the more I think about it, the more I like it.  It’s deceptively quiet and no-frills, but holds an aching beauty–much like its characters and the land itself.  There’s a power to the desolate landscape and a sense of endurance.  I have so many stills for this post because the scenes are gorgeously moody.

Much remains unspoken between the characters, leaving a lot of room for looks, gestures, and the few words they do exchange to carry great meaning.  The scenes Johnny shares with his father (who is even more sparing with words after the 2nd stroke) towards the end of the film are especially lovely.

It’s also wonderful to see the transformation of Johnny, who is understandably but still an annoyingly whiny asshole when the film starts.  Gheorghe is so beautifully layered, caring for the runt lamb tenderly yet rather impassively skinning a lamb so it can have a coat to keep it warm.  How…sweet?

The moral of the story here is if you make food for your partner, I will remain invested in your love.

Would Christa cuddle this one like a warm sweater or leave it passed out in the cold?  Find out here!